If you enjoy extravagant dining, and a table brimming with goodies, then an Indonesian rice table is for you. Spicy and flavoursome; just right!
An Indonesian rice table is a familiar term in the Netherlands. In fact, a rice table is a Dutch invention and it has become part of Dutch cultural heritage.
But what exactly is a rice table? There are many different Indonesian dishes that you can put together. It takes a lot of time and care to produce a rice table, but it is totally worth it. Usually, the preparation is spread out over several days, an advantage of which is that the flavours can then be allowed to fully develop.
It’s a table full of delicious dishes which you can combine to your own liking. Usually, these dishes are kept warm on hot plates, these hot plates can be heated in different ways; with tea lights, burners filled with flammable gel, or they can be heated by gas or electricity.
There are no fixed combinations of dishes; everyone makes their rice table slightly differently. In general, an Indonesian rice table consists of rice, sajoer, chicken, meat, atjar, sambal and side dishes. Here are some examples;
The carbohydrate element in a rice table is, of course, rice. This is the foundation, and as the name suggests, rice is the most important part of the rice table. Basic, simple white rice is always served, such as fragrant jasmine rice. Other rice dishes are also served, such as nasi goreng or nasi kuning.
What is a sajoer? A sajoer is an Indonesian vegetable dish. It is made with onion and various spices, or a boembu. The most well-known type is sajoer beans, but there is also sajoer lodeh and sajoer tjampoer.
There are many meat dishes which are essential parts of a rice table. The most famous probably being Indonesian rendang. This is made from beef, and is slightly different from daging roedjak, lapis daging or daging smoor.
What is atjar? Atjar, sometimes called acar, is a sweet and sour side dish and its purpose is to give contrast to the other spicy dishes. The most well-known is atjar tjampoer (acar campur), which literally means “mixed pickles”. Another example of an atjar is acar ketimun.
Sambal is an essential addition to a rice table. There are many different kinds of sambal, from very spicy to milder varieties. You can buy ready-made versions, or make your own sambal. You can keep homemade sambal for a long time, and the greatest advantage is that you can adapt it to your own taste.
Delicious toppings and crispy side dishes should certainly not be missing. These not only give the rice table extra flavour but also add texture to the meal. Popular options are seroendeng, fried onions, emping, prawn crackers, or the delicious peanut butter biscuits rempejek.
Aside from the above-mentioned dishes, some extra dishes are usually added to complete the rice table. A great extra is the well-known, and delicious, lemper rice rolls. Often an egg dish is served as well, such as telor kuning, or sambal goreng telor.
There are no really specific drinks for the rice table. Usually, beer, (sparkling) water or flavoured water is drunk with a rice table.
Finally, the difference between Indonesian and Indian, as already explained, the rice table is a Dutch invention. Historically, Indonesia was a Dutch colony (or the Dutch East Indies).
When this was no longer the case, many inhabitants were forced to leave for the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, this group of people is referred to as the Indian population (Indos), and they brought many of their dishes with them.
Indonesian dishes are authentic and not adapted to Dutch preference. These are authentic recipes as people in Indonesia cook and eat.
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